Operation Python Dance 2: How the Nigerian military comes up with code names

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The Nigerian army wants to strike like a python

Learn how armies come up with code names for their operations during a war.

The first military code name I ever knew was Operation Desert Storm.

That was the code name of the US military operation to remove Iraqi forces in Kuwait in 1991.

The prequel to Operation Desert Storm was Operation Desert Shield. Yes, the American military has a way of coming up with code names.

It's not just the Yankee military that has dope names for its operations. It's a worldwide thing including the Nigerian military.


Operation Python Dance 2 is the latest code name of the Nigerian military's initiative in the South-Eastern part of the country.

I don't know about you but Operation Python Dance 2 sounds very cool. A name like this, as well as Desert Storm, made me wonder how the military comes up with code names for operations.


The use of code names in war is new. According to military historians, it started in World War I (1914-1918). It really became a trend during World War II.

It has been reported that the initial code name for the invasion of Nazi forces into Russia was called 'Operation Fritz'.  Adolf Hitler reportedly didn't like that name because it didn't strike fear into the hearts of the enemies.

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Hitler changed the invasion to Operation  Barbarossa named after the  Frederick I Barbarossa who was the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

The great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill laid down the unofficial rules for coming up with code names which are still followed till today.


These are his rules;

1) The code name should not reveal the intent of the operation. A name like Operation Kill Shekau is a stupid code name for an operation. It is too direct and it tells everyone including the enemies the objective of the operation.

2) The code name should be memorable and striking. No soldier wants to die in Operation Small Chops or something silly like that. Operation Rolling Thunder or Operation Black Sky are more memorable names.

3) Names from Roman and Greek mythology are excellent to use for code names.

As America became the leading world power post World War 2, it had to come up with names for its military operations that were PR friendly and could whip up public sentiment.

Operation Inherent Resolve was the name of the US military campaign in Iraq and Syria. The name was a flop. The public didn't care for it, the media hated and it wasn't PR friendly.

The name Operation Python Dance is a good example of a code name. It's vague about its intent and it is memorable. It also whips up public sentiments whether good or bad.

From the name of the operation, you can guess that the Nigerian military tends to move slowly and mysteriously till it strikes it target with its fangs.

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